Every Thursday, The MMA Corner will take a look at three regional or international cards, previewing from each a single fight to which people should pay close attention. We will also list other significant bouts from the card, as well as information on how to follow each promotion and watch the events.

Let’s discover those prospects that fight in the obscurity of the regional and international circuits, waiting for their shot at the bright lights and big stage of the UFC, and those veterans looking for one more chance at stardom. It all begins here, in the small convention centers and high school gymnasiums. It all begins with promotions such as these…

ShinZo: Fight Sport

CDAG Sportdome in Guatemala City, Guatemala
Event Date: Aug. 16
Website: shinzo.tv
Twitter: @shinzoguatemala

Spotlight Fight:
Mark Dickman (6-1) vs. Erick Urbina (3-0)

Guatemala isn’t exactly a place that comes to mind when one thinks about MMA event destinations, but the Central American nation plays host to a rather impressive lineup this weekend when ShinZo heads to Guatemala City with a card featuring such notable names as Chidi Njokuani, James Chaney and Waachiim Spiritwolf. The most intriguing fight on the card, however, comes in the form of a lightweight contest between once-defeated Mark Dickman and undefeated short-notice replacement Erick Urbina.

Urbina takes up the spot opposite Dickman after Anthony Morrison bowed out of his scheduled match-up with Dickman. Urbina will compete as a 155-pounder, but he is listed in some fighter databases as a bantamweight, which suggests that he could face a serious size deficit in this contest. “Turbine” made his pro debut in late 2011 and rattled off three straight wins, including knockouts in his two most recent affairs. The Guatemalan fighter has never faced an opponent with a winning record and has been on the sidelines for exactly one year.

Dickman appears to be the more proven competitor in this contest. A three-time high school state wrestling champion, four-time NAIA All-American college wrestler and a 2007 NAIA national champion, the Philippine-American certainly has the edge in wrestling. Dickman has scored four TKO victories and has defeated the likes of Ted Worthington and Aaron Derrow. He suffered his only loss on the scorecards versus Jordan Rinaldi under the Resurrection Fighting Alliance banner.

Fighters outside of the United States tend to struggle in defending against takedowns. That could be the big obstacle for Urbina in this fight. The Guatemalan may enjoy a crowd of his fellow countrymen cheering him on, but he’ll be on the wrong end of the equation when it comes to size, experience and wrestling. The larger Dickman should bully his foe around in this bout and score takedowns at will. Once on the mat, things won’t get any better for Urbina, who will be forced to fend off a barrage of ground-and-pound blows from the collegiate wrestling champion. Eventually, that rain of punches will lead to a referee stoppage and another TKO victory for Dickman.

Other key bouts: Chidi Njokuani (9-4) vs. Levon Maynard (12-9), Tommy Truex (8-3) vs. Dominique Robinson (7-4-2), Paul Blancaflor (3-0) vs. Antonio Yadao (3-0), James Chaney (7-4) vs. Waachiim Spiritwolf (9-12-1)

Cage Fury Fighting Championships XXVI

Borgata Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J.
Event Date: Aug. 17
Website: cffc.tv
Watch Event: GoFightLive
Twitter: @RobHaydak (CFFC President) and @CFFCariasgarcia (General Manager)

Spotlight Fight:
George Sullivan (13-3) vs. Jesus Martinez (8-3)

The New Jersey-based Cage Fury FC has consistently constructed cards full of up-and-comers and familiar talent. In its 26th offering, the promotion lined up two title fights and a pair of equally intriguing non-title outings, including a battle between undefeateds Donald Ooton and Jordan Stiner. On the title front, it paired UFC veteran Charlie Brenneman with Ronnie “Bam Bam” Rogers to determine a new lightweight champion and matched welterweight kingpin George Sullivan with Bellator veteran Jesus Martinez.

The last time we checked in with George Sullivan, he was set to defend his Cage Fury FC welterweight championship against the undefeated Brandon Becker. The Pellegrino MMA fighter didn’t even need two full rounds to shut Becker down via TKO. The 6-foot-tall New Jersey native has found plenty of success since departing Ring of Combat in favor of Cage Fury. Since arriving in the promotion following a loss to Elijah Harshbarger, Sullivan is on a five-fight winning streak that includes title defenses against Becker and Julian Lane. He also holds a notable win over UFC veteran Greg Soto. Although Sullivan holds a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he tends to finish fights with his fists, as evidenced by his nine victories via some form of knockout.

Philadelphia’s Jesus “Chavo” Martinez has twice entered the Bellator cage, but he was sent home with TKO losses on both occasions, including in his fight with Karl Amoussou. Martinez endured a 1-3 stretch from late 2010 to early 2012, but he has since rebounded with two consecutive wins. He holds a brown belt in BJJ under the tutelage of Carlos Machado, but he has spread his victories out evenly between knockouts (three), submissions (two) and decisions (three). When Martinez loses, it tends to happen via strikes.

Martinez is an experienced opponent for Sullivan, but he doesn’t have the skills necessary to take Sullivan down and keep him there. If he could put Sullivan on the mat, though, he would have a chance at scoring the submission victory.

The big knocks on Martinez come in his rough patch and how he suffered those losses. With all three defeats coming courtesy of his opponents’ fists and Sullivan’s own hunger to put adversaries away via TKO or knockout, it’s difficult to see this fight ending in any other manner than a Sullivan finish by way of strikes. The prospect will successfully defend his belt once again, and perhaps even garner some interest from the UFC if the win comes in impressive fashion.

Other key bouts: Charlie Brenneman (18-5) vs. Ronnie Rogers (15-11) for the vacant lightweight title, Duane Bastress (6-2) vs. Mike Stewart (9-4), Donald Ooton (3-0) vs. Jordan Stiner (4-0)

USA-MMA: Lafayette vs. The World 2

Lafayette Hilton in Lafayette, La.
Event Date: Aug. 17
Website: usa-mma.org
Watch Event: regional broadcast on Fox 15
Twitter: @usamma

Spotlight Fight:
Aaron Phillips (3-0) vs. Jeremy Morin (0-0)

One common theme for regional promotions is to pit local boys against out-of-towners in order to give the crowd something to cheer about. In the case of USA-MMA, that means putting native Louisiana talent up against all comers. One such fight has 23-year-old Aaron Phillips welcoming Jeremy Morin to the pro ranks.

Phillips is a student at UL Lafayette, where he also teaches self-defense and kickboxing classes offered by the university’s kinesiology program. He has participated in the school’s judo program and wrestled in high school. Phillips saw his first MMA action as an amateur in 2007 and although the fighter databases are incomplete, he amassed at least four wins and four losses as an amateur before turning pro in 2011. He’s only had three fights since, but all have ended with Phillips’ hand raised. He has notched a first-round knockout, a third-round submission and a unanimous decision victory as a pro, but seemed to lean towards submissions during his amateur run. His amateur losses tended to come via strikes or the scorecards.

Morin is a 32-year-old fighter making his pro debut after just two fights as an amateur. Those contests were separated by more than three years, but they both ended in swift guillotine choke submission wins for the Tennessee native. Morin didn’t even eclipse the four-minute mark for total ring time as an amateur.

At first glance, Phillips has a record that suggests that we’re looking at a prospect on the rise. However, that can be deceptive. With mixed results on the amateur circuit and wins over middling competition thus far in his career, Phillips still has much to prove. Morin, meanwhile, has had two impressive wins, but they came at the amateur level and with a huge gap of time in between them. Morin is certainly a threat to finish this fight on the ground, especially if he can lure Phillips into shooting for takedowns. However, Phillips is the more well-rounded fighter. If this one remains standing, he should enjoy the striking edge, and if it heads to the mat, he has a mix of wrestling, judo and jiu-jitsu to fall back on.

At this level of the sport, anything is possible. It’s possible that the audience blinks and this one is over with Morin taking another submission win. The factor playing against that outcome resides in Phillips’ past history in the ring and cage. His weakness tends to be in the stand-up department. The young man has never lost via submission, but has forced others to tap. Unless he’s careless in leaving his neck exposed while seeking to get Morin to the mat, Phillips should be able to gain the upper hand against Morin and maintain his unblemished record with a unanimous decision win.

Photo: George Sullivan (top) (Keith Mills/Sherdog)